Dark Energy Abyss Screens! ALR Screen You Need to See!

I had a dedicated Theater room in my previous house....recently I moved....the only downside was I was going to be losing my dedicated 100% light controlled Theater.

I had been spoiled by my 100" screen and 5.1 system for too long though, so I knew I was going to be doing my best to create a movie worthy environment in my Living Room....I mean completely replacing my 65" LED tv in the living room, not a dual screen setup....I planned on keeping my old setup, and just have aggressive window shades, as well as a hidden curtain that I could pull across the other side of the room, in order to completely block out any/all ambient light. But I struggled to come up with a design that would both function well, and look appealing....

Then I started looking into ALR screens, as even making nice curtains, and making them look good, wasnt exactly going to be too cheap...., so I figured I would look into ALR Screens/Material....A Black Diamond, which is probably the most well-known of the ALR screens, sells for 3-5000 (USD) depending on who you purchase it from....And almost all of the major ALR screens sell for this price range.

But then I stumbled upon a new screen on the AVS forums: the Dark Energy Abyss screens. These screens were testing better than Black Diamond and other leading ALR screens... and were selling for 20% of the price of the competition.... 20%!!

When I saw some demo videos of this screen, I simply thought they sort of image they were producing in bright, well lit rooms was not possible. I thought it had to be some sort of trick with the lighting, or with the camera. But after talking with several people who had purchased the screens, everyone seemed absolutely amazed with the product... so I had to check it out.

Well I received the package today,....And honestly... the screen has BLOWN AWAY any/everyone who has seen it so far. The guy who helped me hung it... simply couldnt believe he wasnt watching a 106" LED TV. He told me "If I didnt help you hang it... i would swear it was a big tv..."

I have since had 6-7 people over to check out just clips from movies... every single person COULD NOT BELIEVE the image quality this thing is capable of producing, in a well lit room, with the windows and door open, in the middle of the day....

Honestly, this screen is a game changer when it comes to non-dedicated theater rooms and projectors.

Here is a link to the pictures, I honestly could ramble on and on about this screen for days... but instead Ill let the screen speak for itself.

All of these pictures were taken, in the middle of the day, with the front door, all windows open, and with lights on in the rooms adjacent to the living room.

I am shooting an Epson 5030ub from roughly 14' away.... of these pictures have been edited/touched/manipulated. All were downloaded and uploaded as they are.
92" Fixed DEA Screen I've been having for almost a week now and I must say this is one of the best screens available. ….. I have this bad boy hooked up in my family room being that I don't have a media room. The DEA handle the ambient light with no problem. My room have a very large wide window and a smaller window with two lights and there is virtually no wash out...... This screen is very close to or I would say better than the Black Diamond.....
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Hi guys, just want to say a big thank you for my new ALR screen material. I purchased the 120" Dark Abyss .9, and built my own frame complete with LED bias lighting.

All I can say is WOW! It performs a lot better than I expected and even in a fully lit room. I am using a Dell 7760 Advanced Laser Projector, 1920x1080 native resolution with an adequate 5500 lumens output.

I've never seen such impressive "black" levels as this screen gives. Thanks a lot 🙂
M Taylor
New South Wales
I've got samples of both the Dark Energy Abyss & the Silver Ticket ALR. Their is absolutely no comparison..the Dark Energy Abyss is much darker & has far superior ALR performance. I've also got samples from the Screen Innovations Slate line too.

The Dark Energy Abyss actually outperforms both the the Slate 1.2 & their darker Slate .8. The fact that this screen is outperforming & selling for thousands less then its competitors makes it very appealing to me....
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The screen quality is unbelievable, people that come over (especially from having seen my previous screens and having a "meh" response) where floored. We LOVE watching and this being our main viewing device in a mostly light filled room I cant stress enough how wonderful of a picture this is.

Here is my original reddit review and link to pictures (which im happy to update with anything requested)....

I will say right now it's phenomenal ALR without any screen door effect. It looks like a high quality LCD TV no heat spots an impressive grid that moves light.

Its incredible difference between dark energy abyss screens and silver ticket and elite screen

I've now had white, grey and ALR silver ticket and the elite screens ALR and now dark energy abyss all 120" I finally found a winner without compromise for my viewing scenario ( projector is main viewing device in open living room with light colored paint and a off-white ceiling , basically every enthusiasts worst nightmare lol

So the ALR from both ST and Elite both had a really bad "Screen door effect" the texture of the screen would get in the way of the picture quality. I noticed it, other people noticed it. was like looking through something to see the image... The Dark Energy screen made such a difference, daytime viewing is no longer squinting to make out whats on the screen and zero textured surface has eliminated that.

Ive seen super expensive screens and this holds up to that and then some in my opinion.

I have a LG 4k in my bedroom and my epson is an older 3010e 1080p and gods honest truth most media looks extremely close to the quality of the LCD panel.

I love the screen and the my hunt for "the perfect screen" is over i found it. I highly suggest it and im happy to answer any and all questions or requests.

Ive updated with a few more recent pictures attached and on a imgur link here: newer photos
Well, I received my DEA screen last weekend and finally found some time to take it out of the box and get it set up. It's everything I hoped it would be.

For those of you who haven't seen my other threads I had the following samples when trying to decide on a screen: - Dark Energy - Elite CineGrey 3D 1.2 - Elite CineGrey 5D 1.5

- Seymour Ambient Visionaire 1.2 - Seymour Ambient Visionaire 1.4 - Stewart Firehawk - Carl's ALR - Elite CineWhite - Carl's Flexiwhite

When I had all of the samples on the wall I found myself leaning toward all of the brightest samples as my favorites. My front runner for a while was actually the CineGrey 5D 1.5 gain material, so the .9 gain of the DEA didn't seem like it would work out.

Now, I'm not a videophile by any means, so I was just picking what I thought looked best relative to other samples. The problem, I've learned, is that I tend to gravitate toward the brighter colors because they seem to provide more of a pop and make the lower gain screens look very dull when right next to each other. My biggest beef was how dingy the whites looked.

However, after some time doing more reading and talking to @John Schuermann I realized I needed to focus more on the black levels of the screens than on the overall brightness. After all, your brain only has black as a reference (the velvet border) during most viewing, so even a 'not so pure' white will look white. I am very glad I took the time to evaluate samples again.

Last night when I finished building the screen I leaned it up against the wall and shot an image onto it from my Epson 3500. It looked amazing. I pulled my other samples back out and hung them on the screen. No contest the DEA looked better. The white was so washed out it was barely watchable in comparison.

I do have a few vertical bands on the screen that I let @stephen77 know about and it sounds like a simple fix (need to tension a bit more on the sides). Unfortunately I won't have my screen wall done for another couple months. I stayed up way too late last night watching everything I could. Looking forward to trying it out with my Epson 6040 that showed up yesterday.

....I had a chance to do a little daytime viewing with the DEA screen. Obviously this isn't its final resting place, but I want to make sure I give it some good testing before I get too far along. Still looks pretty great in my opinion. I still think the Ambient Visionaire 1.1 is a solid contender. Blacks are better with the DEA. Overall image brightness is better with the Seymour. I don't think you could go wrong with either. Seriously though, the difference between these ALR screens and white screens is night and day.
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Projector is a Sony VPL-VW295ES, not calibrated to the Abyss screen yet. Top half of the screen is the CineGrey 5D, bottom half is the DES Abyss.

The living room photo shows how much ambient light was in the room when taking the pictures/video but that small side window wasn't as bright as it shows, camera must have been letting in too much light in the lens.

The Dark Energy is a very good performing ALR screen, it's rejecting ambient light from many more directions than the Cinegrey material.

short Hubble space video comparison
(CineGray5D on top Dark Energy Abyss on bottom)
John Doe
AVS Forums
Initially, I had completely written off the thought of doing front projection due to the fact I wanted a satisfyingly watchable picture (solid blacks and colors) with the lights on while entertaining football game parties and such, but didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars just for a light-rejecting screen.

I’m a very picky audio/video guy with a keen eye and ear. I grew up listening to a lot of live music (dad was in a band), eventually getting into the car audio field, which then spilled over into home theater as I got older.

That’s when I found out my eyes were as detail-oriented as my ears. I’m the guy who paid over a grand to have my Mitsu rear projection TV professionally reprogrammed and calibrated by the best Mitsu calibrator in the nation (at the time) for the absolute best picture it could produce. I’m also the guy who used to walk up to the screen in the middle of a movie and clean off a speck I noticed. My wife hated when I did that. I need to teach myself to focus on enjoying the picture and quit watching the screen. 🙂

After much research, I had settled on an 80” television, even finalizing the electrical and video lines into the house plans. I thought I was done. Then I made the “mistake” of being bored one day and researching the latest projector technology and stumbled onto rumblings of this new light-rejecting screen solution that made a lot of promises for a fraction of the cost of the big boys.

Naturally, I was skeptical. But the more I researched, the more I liked what I saw. I continued to watch more people rant and rave about the performance and eventually decided to reach out to DES. That is when I began discussing with Stephen what my expectations were. Stephen patiently answered all of my questions and eventually assured me his screen reflecting an image from the projector I started considering (Epson 5040UB) would definitely meet my expectations. Not once did I get the sense he was overselling....With much internal conflict, I decided to bite the bullet and committed to the pursuit of a ten foot screen and projector. Even had to pay my builder for a change order to add electrical and video runs to projector location. And here I thought I had things already finalized.

I pulled the trigger on the purchase in March 2017 after I was moved in. Fast forward to now after months of viewing… wow. The DES Abyss .9 delivers, and it delivers well. Even with all ceiling cans fully lit and billiards light turned on directly behind the theater seating, I can be proud of the picture displayed on the screen.

It isn’t just watchable. It is beautifully engaging. And I don’t even have to set the 5040UB to its brightest output. It truly is an amazing picture in a fully lit room.

Granted, I’m not fighting sunlight, but based on my buddies who also have projectors in their basements, this screen truly is the real deal. And, yes, they are envious. Like other Abyss owners, I have also had folks wondering where I got a 120” TV; it is that vivid.

I was skeptical, yes, but no more. And to this day, I have yet to see a projector/screen combo look this good in a lit room. Period.

I can comfortably watch anything with the lights on and actually enjoy it. Colors, white levels, black levels… it’s all there. And when the lights are off for movie time, I simply kick the projector into Cinema mode and continue with the enjoyment. Lights on, lights off… it doesn’t matter.

....I have two rows of theater seating in a stadium seating arrangement. First row is four seats across with a viewing distance of about seven feet. Middle two seats are straight, ends are angled inward a bit. I realize that is really close to the screen, but I was tight on space overall and designed the setup around my second row since that is where my family sits. Who cares about the visitors anyway, right? 🙂 Funny thing is, even at a seven foot viewing distance, the picture is still great! Second row is six seats across and twelve inches higher than the first row, with about a fifteen foot viewing distance. Middle four are straight, and the two end seats are angled inward.

All four end seats do see a SLIGHT drop in picture brightness, but they are at the extremes of the viewing cone, so I expected it. But once you are seated, you don’t notice it anyway. It’s only when you move across the room do you really see it. Perfectly acceptable in my book. Have yet to hear anyone mention it, and I have friends who aren’t afraid of picking my stuff apart simply because I invite and encourage it.

Remember when I mentioned that I need to teach myself to focus on the picture and quit watching the screen? That is where my only real “MINOR” callout is with this material. If I focus on it, I do see a bit of a “sparkling effect” with this screen. It is not overwhelming, and if I just relax my eyes and focus on the picture, I don’t notice it. But, again, I tend to notice things others don’t. In fact, I have only had one other person notice it, but only because I pointed it out to them. If that is the only pitfall of this material, then one could argue it isn’t even worth mentioning. But I believe my review would be dismissed as phony if I didn’t point out SOMETHING, regardless of how picky it is. And it is being rather picky given the amount of positives the material provides at the price it comes in at.

So, does the material meet the expectation? Absolutely! Does it knock the socks off of every single person who views it? Yep!.....

In conclusion, you are looking at the review from an audio/video snob who was convinced a television was the only way get the lit-room performance desired. I have been convinced otherwise… this screen really was made for people like me. Outstanding product, outstanding price, and outstanding customer service. Outstanding job, Stephen!

The attached pic is one I snagged from my phone while watching my Huskers getting destroyed by Oregon. All cans are on and actually much brighter than they appear, but the camera was auto-adjusting its brightness due to the screen brightness.
Two Rows
AVS Forums
I begin this review by saying that I am not a newbie about Ambient Light Rejection (ALR) Screens. Since 2013, I follow the evolution of the famous Black Diamond screens (by seeing and comparing samples of them) and, in 2014, I bought the Zebra screen, considered the state of the art in terms of ALS screen until then, even better than Black Diamond and its competitors.

This initial explanation is necessary because what you will read next may seem just the excitement of a guy who had never owned an ALR screen before. But it's not the case. I'm talking about the Dark Energy screen.

TEST ENVIRONMENT The Dark Energy screen I bought was 110 inches (larger than Zebra, which was 96 inches) and it was installed in the same room and on the same wall as the Zebra screen was installed earlier. This room has four doors, one of which is to the outside of the house, so that it comes with a lot of lighting.

In addition, the room has three windows (with direct incidence of the sun). All these windows are located on the wall in front of the screen, ie behind the projector (an Epson Pro Cinema 6030). This was a matter which was worrying me, because no ALR manufacturer recommends their screens for environments where there is a light source (such as doors or windows) behind the projector. Even so, I decided to take a chance.

Unexpectedly, the Dark Energy screen worked very well despite this room setup....Oh, do you believe that a lot of friends disbelieved when I said that what was installed on the wall (the Dark Energy screen) was a projection screen and not a big 110-inch LED TV, as they thought? I think it happens because of the very dark material of the screen, besides the thin (0.4 in) black aluminum bezel.

BRIGHTNESS GAIN The Zebra screen, which I had previously, had, according to its manufacturer, a gain of 1.4, while Dark Energy has allegedly a gain of 0.9. In practice, however, Dark Energy is infinitely brighter than Zebra, as you can see on the attached photos (which is even more incredible considering that the size of the 110-inch Dark Energy projection is 30% larger than the projection of the Zebra screen, with just 96 inches).

I’m not saying that manufacturers are lying about the gain values of their screens. The secret here is that, when you talk about "brightness gain", there is a peculiarity that few manufacturers mention: the location where the projector should be installed in order to get that gain mentioned in the specifications. Let me explain. Zebra is a "retroreflective" screen, so that the light that hits the screen returns concentrated to the same location where the light source is (ie the projector). In my case, the projector is installed in the ceiling. So, the maximum gain (1.4) would only be noticeable if I placed the projector directly in front of my eyes, which is totally unavoidable both by the aesthetic question and by the noise of the projector near the ears of the spectators. Or if I sit on the ceiling ...

Dark Energy, on the other hand, is an "angular-reflective" screen, which means that the light returns concentrated to the opposite direction of the place of the projector. In my case, the projector is installed on the ceiling, which causes the screen to get maximum gain exactly at the height of my eyes, when I'm sitting just below. It works just like magic, see the pictures!

COLOR The Dark Energy screen has a totally neutral color, as can be seen in the images, unlike the Zebra screen, which had an annoying yellowish tone.

CONTRAST High contrast, by definition, consists of the screen's ability to display the brightest white as possible, while retaining the darkest black, giving it depth. In the case of highly illuminated environments, obviously the challenge is to keep black really "black", not only gray.

Regarding the ability to reject ambient light, Dark Energy is simply phenomenal, as you can see in the attached photos. Despite the highly illuminated environment, it is possible to enjoy very deep blacks. It is true that the Zebra screen (as well as the Black Diamond) is also excellent in the ability to retain the depth of black, however, as stated, the perception of contrast depends on the ratio between black and white. About this, Dark Energy is unbeatable, as it can also display an extremely pure white and high brightness.

All this makes Dark Energy deliver incredible contrast, better than any ALR screen I've ever tested, or even seen in its videos on the internet. I can summarize, just to make it clear, by saying that the Dark Energy screen has a better contrast than my LG LED TV.

SPARKLES An effect inevitably present in ALR screens is "sparkles”, something like tiny points that seems like glitter. What varies from one ALR screen to another ALR screen is the amount of sparkles and the intensity of their brightness. As I said initially, my projector is an Epson Powerlite Pro Cinema 6030, which can emit the incredible amount of real 2,400 lumens.

On ALR screens, this large amount of brightness can be a problem as it increases the intensity of the sparkles in the brightest scenes. But not in Dark Energy . While the sparkles are irritatingly visible more than 3 meters away on the Zebra screen (even in half-tone scenes), they are barely noticeable in Dark Energy at any distance.

On the contrary: the subtlety of the sparkles creates a very nice uniform texture on the screen, reminiscent of the best movie screens. I'm able to say that if I were to choose a screen with 100% smooth texture or Dark Energy texture, I’d prefer the texture of Dark Energy because it gives more realism to the projection.

VIEWING ANGLE Amazingly, what struck me most about the Dark Energy screen wasn’t its high brightness, its neutral color nor the small amount of sparkles. It was the viewing angle.

Seriously, I’ve never imagined that an ALR screen could have a viewing angle as large as that of the Dark Energy screen. It isn’t an overstatement to say that, on the Dark Energy screen, the image is perfectly visible at any angle.

While Zebra promised a full 70 degree angle and I considered the image to be viewable at most up to 30 degrees, Dark Energy advertises having a full viewing angle of 90 degrees, but I consider - no exaggeration at all - that Image is excellent at any angle, even at 179 degrees. Unlike the Zebra screen, whose image became very dark as I moved off-center, the loss of brightness of Dark Energy is practically negligible, even at the most critical angles. And you can check this by viewing the attached images too.

HOT SPOTTING So, is Dark Energy a perfect screen, being able to reject all the ambient light and reflect only the light of the projector, with a perfect viewing angle too? No. After all, the laws of physics exist to be fulfilled.

Joking aside, the presence of hot spotting in Dark Energy is definitely noticeable in some images, perhaps a litter bit more than in the Zebra screen. For those who do not know, hot spotting is the visual perception one has about the center of the screen being brighter than its edges (considering that you are sitting in front of the screen in the center).

In Dark Energy, hot spotting only catches attention in scenes where your brain imagines that there should be a uniformity of brightness throughout the image, but there is not. In other scenes, the hot spot goes completely unnoticed.

Hot spotting becomes a little more noticeable if you're sitting too off-center. For example, if you are sitting too far to the right, the right part of the screen will look brighter; if you are sitting too far to the left, the left part of the screen will seem brighter.

Finally, there are two very important observations:

1) Every ALR fabric manufacturer recommends a minimum installation distance between the projector and the screen for the purpose of reducing hot spotting. In the case of the Dark Energy screen, the manufacturer recommends that the projector be installed at a distance equivalent to at least 1.6 times the width of the screen (for example, if the screen is 5 feet wide, then the projector must be installed at 8 feet or more far away). In my case, due to the layout of the room, the projector was installed at a distance of 1.2 times the width of the screen. It means that I am not obeying the instructions of the manufacturer regarding this requirement.

So please take it in consideration when viewing the images and noting the presence of the hot spot. It is possible that, if the projector was installed in the correct position, the "hot spotting" would be much less noticeable.

2) I do not know why, but the images taken by the camera tend to show much more hot spotting than there is in real life. If I could quantify, I would say that the pictures show as much as the double of the hot spotting that is perceived by seeing the screen in person. Take this into consideration too.

CONCLUSION It was not by chance that I focused the review on the comparison between the Zebra screens and Dark Energy. I could have written this review comparing the Dark Energy screen to the Black Diamond samples I have, but Zebra was already superior to Black Diamonds in all respects. As I said earlier, the Zebra screen was considered state of the art until this year of 2017, when Dark Energy started being officially commercialized (in 2016, a preliminary version of Dark Energy was sold for beta testers).

So, nothing better than a true Clash of Titans (Dark Energy vs Zebra) to prove that the new Dark Energy screen has left all competitors eating dust.
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